Monday, November 12, 2007

Packaging Neutral

Wal-Mart has promised to become “packaging neutral” by 2025. That means that, through recycling, reusing or perhaps even composting, it will try to recover as much material as was used in the packaging that flows through its stores.

Wal-Mart introduced a “packaging scorecard” in February that lets vendors rate themselves on criteria like the ratio of package size to product and whether the package uses recycled material. The company may even pay more for products with better packaging, as long as it can recoup the money through recycling revenue or lowered disposal costs.

The world’s largest retailer, known for pressuring vendors to lower their prices, has begun pushing its 66,000 vendors to get rid of excess packaging.
Interesting. Why is this important?
“Packaging offers major opportunities for reducing energy use and greenhouse gases, and for saving the $4 billion worth of materials that now ends up in landfills,” said Matt Hale, director of the agency’s Office of Solid Waste.
What are some examples of how this could be done?
Procter & Gamble, for example, has introduced rigid tubes for Crest toothpaste that can be shipped and displayed on shelves without boxes.

And Coca-Cola plans to cut the plastics in its Dasani water bottles by 7 percent over the next five years, just by tweaking the shape of the bottle and the cap.
Sounds good to me. Seems like there is a lot of waste in packaging to begin with.

I hate all the cardboard boxes that I throw away recycle each week. Most of them are completely worthless. Why do frozen meals need a box around them? Just put the brand label on the air tight plastic container. Trader Joe's does this for their frozen rice bowls and it works great.

You might think that some items need the protection of a cardboard box, but if the most fragile item in the supermarket (corn chips) doesn't require a cardboard box to protect it, why does cereal or anything else? Get rid of the boxes. And while they are at it, there should be a law that all plastic bags must come with a Ziploc resealable top. Some shredded cheeses come packaged like that now, but it should be added to every product. This would be great for making sure that cereal doesn't go stale.

via NY Times

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